Steamboats on the Mississippi River
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member NoLemon
N 37° 13.560 W 089° 27.602
16S E 281747 N 4122779
Quick Description: This marker is placed at a roadside rest area and scenic overlook off of Route 3 in Thebes, IL.
Location: Illinois, United States
Date Posted: 9/5/2006 1:37:52 PM
Waymark Code: WMPMQ
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Corp Of Discovery
Views: 37

Long Description:

Steamboats on the Mississippi River

In 1817 the Zebulon M. Pike reached St. Louis, the northern-most steamboat port on the Mississippi River. The western steamboat of later years wa a credit to the frontier American mechanic who drew upon experience to build a large craft (eventually over 300 by 40 feet) which would carry heavy cargoes in shallow water against the strong Mississippi current. Owners boasted that steamboats could run on heavy dew, but in fact seasonal variations in river depth limited their use. Medium sized steamboats needed at least four feet of water. The influence of the steamboat spread for and wide in the Mississippi valley and hastened the development of the region.

Snags, explosions, collisions and fires sank many steamboats. An 1867 investigation recorded 133 sunken hulks in the Mississippi between Cairo and St. Louis, a stretch rivermen called the "Graveyard."

Even as the north-south river trade flourished in the 1850's transportation lines running east and west developed. Railroads, which followed a more direct route than winding rivers, began to haul freight to and from the Mississippi valley. Steamboats aided te North in the Civil War, but the reorientation of civilian commerce foreshadowed their decline. Although they continued to churn the Mississippi for the rest of the nineteenth century, they were eventually replaced by strings of barges guided by a single steamboat or later by a diesel boat which transported the cargoes individual steamboats had once carried.

Erected by the Illinios Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Historical Society, 1986

County: Alexander

Dedication Date: 1986

Location: Thebes, IL

Website: Not listed

Historical Society: Not listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Ga. Cracker visited Steamboats on the Mississippi River 8/5/2011 Ga. Cracker visited it
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